Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Pork and Sauerkraut for New Year's Day

South of the Mason-Dixon Line the dish to eat for good luck on New Year's Day is usually Hoppin' John, or some version of dish containing black-eyed peas, which resemble coins (?!?). But I was born and raised in central PA, smack in the middle of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where the go-to meal on New Year's Day is pork and sauerkraut. So, I'm hedging my bets this year - I'll have black-eyed peas with ham on the buffet for breakfast tomorrow but I have some pork and sauerkraut ready for lunch. My favorite recipe for sauerkraut comes from the master, Julia Child - with one adaptation.  Julia calls for 3 cups of thinly sliced onions, and I don't care so much for onions, so I only use one cup.  Here is my version:

  • 2 pounds sauerkraut
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
Rinse the sauerkraut and squeeze it with your hands to fluff it up and remove excess liquid.  I like my sauerkraut a little sour, so I don't soak it or rinse it excessively.

Spray a heavy 5-quart saucepan with a little non-stick spray and start with the wine.  Add the onions and bring them to a simmer, cooking for 10 minutes or so until the onions are tender.  Add the sauerkraut, broth, caraway seeds, thyme, bay leaves, and some salt and pepper. Fold together to combine Bring the mixture back to a simmer, cover the pan, and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover the pan and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced to almost nothing. Correct seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve hot.

This sauerkraut can go into the oven with your favorite pork products - seared chops, a few sausages, ham.  I made mine this year with two pork chops, some ham and sausages, with bacon bits scattered on top.

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